Pacific North Playoff Update
Life West v. Olympic Club – 04/08/17
Saturday found the Life West Gladiators on Treasure Island, facing Olympic Club for the first time in this Pacific North D1 playoff. They started well in the 3rd minute through a strong surge by Tavite Lopeti, but the Gladiators were turned over at the ruck for holding on. Olympic Club capitalized on their advantage through a set piece try, pushing ahead 0 – 5 in the starting five minutes. Life responded through a Moni Tongauiha try from a five-meter scrum in the 9th minute, tying the game 5 – 5. Following this fast-paced opening ten minutes, both teams tried to settle into their patterns and find holes in their opponents defenses. However, both teams were unable to get into a proper rhythm, and it wasn’t until the 27th minute that a period of sustained Olympic Club pressure on the Gladiator’s goal line led to a try, 5 – 12. Just before the half, fullback Tyler Harrison picked up a try through a quick tap by hooker Jay Finau, who offloaded to captain Zach Bonte for a strong carry. Bonte fed the ball out to Harrison, who dotted down 15m from touch.
Half time: Life West 10 – 12 Olympic Club
After the half-time break, both teams came out looking for momentum and a foothold over their opposites. It was Olympic Club who struck first at 53′ with a penalty in front of the posts, pushing out to a 10 – 15 lead. A yellow card to flanker Naibuka Tawake further galvanized the Olympic side, and they held a period of sustained pressure in the Life West 22. However, a wayward pass was scooped up by fullback Harrison, who showed a clean pair of heels to evade the Olympic players for a 90m runaway try in the 60th minute. This proved to be the turning point on the day, with the Gladiators spending the next 15 minutes in the Olympic half, capped off by a third try for man-of-the-match Harrison.
At the final whistle, Life West prevailed over Olympic Club, 20 – 15, with the Gladiators picking up the bonus point victory.
Life West v. SFGG – 04/01/17
In the first game of April, the Pacific North division featured just one game, a hard-hitting playoff match between San Francisco Golden Gate and the Life West Gladiators at Ray Sheeran Field on Treasure Island. With both teams entering the match with a combined one loss, the match promised to be a defensive and abrasive affair. SFGG got the scoring started in the 2nd minute with a penalty from a kickoff turnover. However, the first ten minutes saw the Gladiators putting on strong pressure in the SFGG 22 through several scrums, but were unable to turn the pressure into points.
The next ten minutes saw the momentum shift the other way, with SFGG able to score a converted try in the left corner at 22′. In response, the Gladiators moved into a advantageous position for a long portion of the half, but again were unable to produce points for their efforts. Wing Anthony Muñoz put a chip-and-chase ahead at the 36th minute off a turnover, producing a 5m scrum for Life West, but SFGG’s defense held firm, eventually pushing the Gladiators into touch 1m from the tryline.
Half time: Life West 0 – 10 SFGG
After the break, the Gladiators again put on pressure in the SFGG half, earning a chance for a penalty from first-five Gui Cazenave in the 42nd minute. However, the kick went just wide. The next fifteen minutes were a middle-of-the-pitch struggle, with both teams putting in big hits and strong defense. This stalemate was broken in the 55th minute with a strong run by SFGG’s Langilangi Haupeakui, pushing the score to 0 – 17. Off the kickoff, a resurgent Gladiator side looked to score through an enterprising break, but were stopped through an intercept by SFGG.
Our Gladiators did not give up, and in the 75th minute, Life again had a 5m scrum in the SFGG half, and were able to score through lock Alex Pedjase, converted by Cazenave.
Full time: Life West 7 – 24 SFGG.
Life West – this weekend v. SFGG (04/15/17)
Following Life West’s triumph over SFGG in the California Cup this January, SFGG has been able to hold the upper hand as the teams moved into the Pacific North D1 season, coming out on top in the two matches played since. This weekend will be the third and final meeting between the two teams, and is by far the most important match of the season for the Gladiators. With a victory this weekend, Life West will be in a highly advantageous position to move on to the USA D1 playoffs in Tuscon, AZ.
Game details for this weekend:
11:00am Life West 2nd XV v. Santa Rosa D1
1:00pm Life West v. SFGG
Cal Maritime Academy
Bodnar Field, CMA, Vallejo, CA.